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Are you a Carrot, Egg or Coffee Beans?

This is a tale about how your mind responds to difficulties.


Since the origin of this parable is unknown, I invite you to pretend it coming from the wizened lips of your nana, mother or aunty. Imagine this as the advice coming from someone who loves you dearly and wishes you only the best. Now picture yourself standing in the kitchen with them, as you prepare dinner together standing side-by-side at the counter, you begin to talk about little things, which inevitably leads to talking about bigger things. She asks you what is going on in your life, and in the domestic security of the kitchen, you unload all your worries on her. You share your daily struggles and your deepest fears. You tell her what keeps you up at night and what casts a shadow within your heart. When you finish, she silently moves around the kitchen collecting three pots and filling them with water. She then places a carrot in the first pot, an egg in the second and a handful of coffee beans in the third. You watch in confusion as she places the three pots on the stove and allows them to come to boil.


Ten minutes later, just when you have given up all hope of ever receiving a reply, she turns off the little blue fires under the pots and gives you a nod that wordlessly communicates she is ready to continue talking about life. Placing the three pots in front of you she asks: “Tell me darling, what do you see?” Not in the mood for games, your reply is to the point: “A carrot, an egg and some coffee beans.” She smiles and removes the carrot from the first pot. Inviting you to examine and feel it. The carrot is soft and turns to mush as you press it between your fingers. Next she invites you to examine the egg. The shell cracks easily as you tap it on the counter and inside you find a hardened center. Finally she pours you a cup of coffee. You smell the intense aroma immediately and bringing it to your lips you taste its bitter richness. With a soft smile and hint of earthiness coating your tongue, you urge her to share the meaning of what she has cooked up for you. As you sit down together she begins to explain.


“Each of these pots was filled with water, so each item I placed inside was faced with the same adversity: the boiling water. However, it is their reactions that differed. The carrot went in strong and unrelenting, but after facing the boiling water it emerged weak and easy to subdue. The egg went in fragile, a thin shell protecting a golden fluid center, but after facing the boiling water it hardened and turned inflexible. Now the coffee beans, they were different. They were the only item that after being subject to boiling water had changed the water itself. Turning the very circumstance that brought it adversity, into something quite delicious!” She takes another sip of the fragrant brew. “So now I ask you darling, which of these are you? The carrot that seems so strong, but when faced with the pains of life is weakened and wilted, or the egg that starts off with a malleable heart and fluid spirit, but in hardship becomes toughened and stiff? Or are you like the coffee beans, as the situation heats up and you get burned, you elevate to a higher level, improving yourself and changing the situation around you for the better. When you are faced with life’s great trials and suffering, are you a carrot, egg or coffee beans?”


The most naturally balanced people out there don’t necessarily have the best ingredients in their pantry, they just know how to make the most of them. Learning from everything that comes their way, turning wounds into wisdom and heartbreak into heart bravery. They are the inner alchemists that turn the seeds of a coffee plant into liquid gold.


This story is a loving reminder, to see adversity as opportunity. 

To keep your dreams alive and your Fire alight! 


If you are looking for more inspiration, check out our Igniting Purpose Retreat which is designed to work through fears and difficulties while paving the road to a life of freedom and fulfilment. 


May we all be faced with enough trials to make us wise, be confronted with enough sorrow to keep us compassionate and may we encounter enough challenge to make us strive for improvement. May we all brew our hardships into robust espressos!

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